The Wild CoastOlympic National Park protects one of the longest stretches of wilderness coast in the lower 48 states. Sea lions, seals, otters, whales, sea birds, and eagles are at home in this landscape of towering headlands and sea stacks. A treacherous shoreline and rough seas likely helped preserve the coast. Added protection came in 1988, when Congress designated much of the park the "Olympic Wilderness." The unbroken coast stretching between fishing villages of local tribes appears as it must have when their ancestors paddled cedar canoes past rocky coves, islands and beaches.
Mora Area Information
Facilities: Mora Ranger Station, open intermitttently in summer with information and bear canisters. Self-register wilderness camping permits available year-round. Restrooms (accessible) at Rialto Beach or the campground.
Camping: Open year-round, 94 sites, one accessible, fire rings with grates, accessible restrooms, water, animal-proof food storage, RV dump station (fee). Although not yet in place as of January 2020, Mora is expected to be on a reservation system (new for 2020) for the summer months. Reservations can then be accepted up to 6 months in advance and can be made online via www.recreation.gov. Any unreserved or cancelled sites will be sold in the field at Mora Ranger Station on a first-come, first-served basis. Campers must be present in person at Mora Ranger Station in order to purchase any unreserved or cancelled sites. Visit the Camping webpage for specific dates and more information.
During the reservation season, there is a 7 consecutive day stay limit at Mora Campground.Outside of the reservation season, Mora Campground is on a first-come, first-served basis. Some loops close during the winter months. Visitors self-pay for campsites in the campground at designated registration boards outside of the reservation season.
Picnic Area: Rialto Beach: paved, several tables with table extensions.
Boat Launch: Dickey River Boat Ramp.
Regulations: Pets are not allowed on the wilderness coast beaches or on any park trails. Pets are allowed on Rialto Beach to Ellen Creek only and must be on a leash at all times.
Mora Area Trails:
James Pond Trail:
.3 mile loop
Flat trail through forest to James Pond.
Forested trail to the Quillayute River. Elevation changes less than 40 feet.
Path to ocean view. Temporary accessible ramp available in summer season.
Walk 1.5 miles to an arch and tidepools at Hole-in-the-Wall. Check tide tables Wilderness: and use extreme caution if backpacking north to Sandpoint (quota area). Wilderness permits and bear cans required for backpackers.
La Push Area Trails:
Trailhead is 14 miles west of US 101 on La Push Road on the Quileute Indian Reservation. Trail winds through forest before descending 200 feet to a sandy beach with seastacks and tidepools.
Trailhead is on La Push Road, 12 miles west of US 101. Trail descends 270 feet through forest to a sandy beach.
Third Beach to Oil City. Wilderness camping permits and bear cans required Wilderness: for backpackers.
All the Water's a Stage
Severe currents, rocks and infamous weather doomed many ships along this wild coast. Shipwrecked mariners told of hardships endured on the rugged and desolate shoreline, and of dramatic rescues, some involving heroic assistance from local tribes. Memorials north of Rialto Beach commemorate 36 people who died in wrecks of Chilean and Norwegian vessels in 1920 and 1903—testament to a perilous, remorseless sea that has taken many lives. This coast has seen drama, tragedy and heroism. Shipwrecks stir our emotions and capture the essence of the human struggle against the elements. Even today, with modern navigation and powerful engines, ships have trouble. Accidents have spilled thousands of gallons of oil onto these pristine beaches, killing sea birds and coating rocks and sand. Ocean warming and acidification from human-driven climate change is challengings sea life. The drama and tragedy continue.
Last updated: January 7, 2020